A friend and I found an artificial badger sett a couple of days ago. We are really worried that it has been poisoned.
Peanuts, Oats and bright blue Poison
A few days ago a friend and I were asked to check out a “wildlife corridor” on a housing estate about 10 miles away. When it’s known that a new housing development will make it more difficult for an animal (especially a badger) to get to it’s feeding grounds from it’s sett, some forward thinking planners include a “wildlife corridor” through the estate.
The corridor we went to look at was built in about 2000 and was a path enclosed by 6ft fence panels. Pretty impossible for us to see if any animals were using it (as it was at the bottom of the gardens – over the fence!) so we went in search of other “signs” around the estate (regularly used animal pathways, dung-pits, snuffle holes, hair where they had gone under fences.. that sort of thing).
One of the recently digg out badger sett holes
Wandering round the estate we found very few signs of animals until we got to the estate entrance. Where some grass had grown tall we could see a couple of animal paths which looked like badger leading from the road into the ditch. So then we switched our attention to the piece of rough ground on the other side of the road. Planted with trees and shrubs it was hard to penetrate but we followed one of the animal pathways and low and behold it brought us to a badger sett deep in the undergrowth.
I think we both got a bad feeling when we saw it. It was obviously an artificial sett but there were signs of at least three natural holes by the side of the plastic tube-holes. I’ve since found out that the council built this sett. A new council building was built on the site of a badger sett across the road and there was a “need for badgers to be moved to a new sett”. If only it was that simple.
Another of the holes
The digging was quite recent and the soil was damp and loose. What was also recent was the food that had been left in at least six places in front of the holes. Peanuts covered in something sweet and sticky, oats and small bright blue pellets. The food wasn’t indiscriminately scattered it was carefully placed under flat rocks (that badgers could easily move).
Someone knew exactly what they were doing and had purposefully baited the sett. The blue pellets smelt of candy-floss, but we have no idea what they are. Have another look at the picture below.
We left the sett and drove to my friends house nearby where I used her phone to call the Police. Could someone be trying to poison them? Were the badgers digging up their garden? Were they afraid the badgers had TB?
The Police visited the site (that day) and said they thought it was poison, and handed it over to the authorities to clear it up. Yesterday my car broke down and I couldn’t visit the sett but apparently last night it still hadn’t been removed. Today I will phone the police again and tell them that I’m going to clear it up myself (armed with plastic gloves and a mask!). I can’t bear the thought of other badgers (or any other wildlife – including kids!) eating the it and possibly being poisoned. Then over the next few months we will visit the site regularly to see if there are any signs of “live” badgers.
The investigations continue….